I'm slipping into total testing mentality. I can't view a system or interface anymore without trying to break it. I got a rental car the other day and was trying different combinations of the remote key buttons for 15 minutes in the parking lot. Trying to lock it with the doors open, with the doors closed, with the trunk open, pressing lock and unlock at the same time...

I wonder if maybe if I jump on top of the newspaper vending machine, if I can then climb up to the awning, from there onto the top of Jack in the Box, and then break portals and cause the buildings to disappear. I've given myself a lot of bruises trying to find seams in the collision planes.

Testing is certainly a state of mind. You have to look at a system and think about how it's suppsoed to work and then consider every possibility that may cause it to collapse, be exploited, or otherwise break. It certainly helps one be a better gamer, since you can dissect AI routines pretty easily and defeat computer opponents by taking advantage of weaknesses in their target ranges or pathing routines. It's tough to suspend my disbelief in games anymore. I see it all as a series of collsion planes, light sources, hide nodes, attack routines, and so forth. Still, that doesn't mean it's not fun to try and exploit them.

Of course, a large part of testing is still luck. I don't really try and break the games I have at home, and yet I've managed to crash 3 or 4 of my PS2 games. In case you're wondering, GTA Vice City is the buggiest game I have ever seen on a next-gen console. Of course, it's also super sweet, complex and ridiculously dynamic, so it's forgivable.

Some of the best stuff in a game are the things that are fixed before the game releases. Inappropriate placeholder textures, profanity-laced error mesages, and naked characters abound. Stuff you don't get to see in the "making of" videos.

Okay, time to enter hour 94 of this week. Gotta ball on and break more stuff.


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